Blue, yellow, green, and pink translucent glass bottles upside-down on a metal tree branch structure against a blue sky background with green bushes along the bottom view.

Black History Month

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 – Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Online & At the Garden

Join NYBG for Black History Month to celebrate the African American experience through plants. Discover barrier-breaking pioneers in environmental science and agricultural education as well as contemporary activists and advocates who are creating and supporting communities that foster representation, identity, and diversity. Explore the enduring botanical legacy of the African Diaspora that reveals the inextricable link between Black history and American history through the lens of gardening and farming, horticulture and science, and arts and culture. From thought-provoking conversations and personal stories to inspiring lectures and programs for all ages, learn about the foundational contributions of Black Americans to our understanding of the plant world.

Above: NYBG planted its first African American Garden in 2022. As a protector of the garden, and to celebrate ancestors, a traditional African American bottle tree was among its special features.

Welcome Message from Councilmember Althea Stevens

New York City Councilmember,
District 16, The Bronx

The Story of Vanilla

Edmond Albius and the Vanilla Orchid

Listen to Everett Children’s Adventure Garden Explainers discuss Edmond Albius’s history-changing discovery while touring vanilla plants in the Haupt Conservatory and pressed specimens from the Steere Herbarium.

Kids Corner

Gather the kids for activities to discover the cultural influences of the African Diaspora, and watch an interview about the importance of caring for the natural world.

Black History Month: Celebrate Science!

Interviewer: Jalika Barrie, Master Explainer at the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden

Interviewee: Eliot Nagele, Director of the Thain Family Forest

Plants as Liberation

This wide-ranging series of interviews, begun in February 2022, continues as NYBG Educator Arvolyn Hill speaks with Black people in the plant world. From herbalists and houseplant enthusiasts to farmers and gardeners, listen and learn how they are using plants as a powerful expression of liberation and freedom.

Plants as Liberation: Joshua Bennett

Plants as Liberation: Justin Robinson

Plants as Liberation: Leah Penniman

Plants as Liberation: Suhaly Bautista-Carolina

Lectures and Symposia

Enjoy a variety of programs from 2022 that examine culture and identity, including the vital role of food traditions, especially when cultural heritage or languages have been prohibited and erased.

Afro-Indigenous Histories of Food and Gardening in the Bronx

The Food Dialogues: Matthew Raiford in Conversation with Jessica B. Harris

Around the Table Symposium: A Seat at the Table

The Bond of Live Things Everywhere Symposium

African American Gardens

Supported by generous funding from the Mellon Foundation, The New York Botanical Garden will plant three African American Gardens between 2022 and 2024, each telling different stories of the African American experience through plants. All three gardens will be curated by NYBG Trustee Dr. Jessica B. Harris, America’s leading scholar on the food and foodways of the African Diaspora.

Botanical Legacies

Learn about the contributions of Black scientists to our understanding of the plant world, the rich legacy of plants and knowledge about their uses that enslaved Africans brought to America, and other plant stories.